Cloth Diapers

December 27, 2012

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Please read this post as an “I’m learning” post and not a “do what I do” post. I have no clue what I’m doing! Which brings me to point #1: cloth diapering is hard!! Disposables are easy. You put the diaper on. You throw it away. The hardest thing is realizing you might need to jump up to the next size. Cloth diapers take so much more knowledge – from choosing brands to getting the fit right to the laundry. The learning curve is steep, but I’m hoping once we get to the top it’s all downhill from there.

We started cloth at about 2 months, although not full time. I wanted to ease into it and not put too much stress on myself. Also the diapers seemed HUGE on Mazen until about 2.5/3 months, so I wasn’t very confident they would actually work with his clothes and things. So we started using one every now and then and I decided that I had to jump in full time before I could really see what it was like.

People have asked me “Do you like it?” At first my response was that switching from disposables to cloth was kind of like going on vacation and eating whatever you want and then coming back home to healthy again. Disposables are like being able to eat cake all day long. I did not like the cloth at first compared to the disposables – who would, it’s more work. But like healthy eating, I knew it was the right thing to do for the earth and our wallets moving forward, so I kept at it. Now I can say that I DO like cloth. As much or more than the disposables. I just wish I could get all the kinks out of our process.

We have about 15 diapers that we cycle through. Some of the others in the stash that Stephanie gave me went to another blog reader and some were too small once we started cloth. These 15 are the perfect amount for a wash-every-3-days cycle, although I’m washing them closer to every 2 now.

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At first, we were having tons of trouble with leaking. I have been washing them in Rockin’ Green detergent but as many of you said, I probably needed to strip them. Stripping a cloth diaper means washing it 5 times in hot water with no detergent to get out any residue that might be repelling liquid. I didn’t think our diapers were repelling, but I did this anyway. There are many ways to strip, but I just washed them in hot water with oxiclean about 5 times in a row. The leaking improved.

Now 2 weeks later, we’re leaking again, on and off. It’s SO annoying to pick your child up and feel a wet bottom. Not only do you need to change the diaper but the whole outfit too. I can’t imagine I have to strip every 2 weeks, so I’m wondering if it’s just a fit issue. Not all of them leak, and the Baby Land diapers leak more than the rest, so maybe they are just not a great fit.

My favorite diapers are the Bum Genius velcro ones. I love these because the velcro is just so easy to adjust. Stick it on and you’re done. The snappy diapers are hard because I end up snapping and unsnapping several times to get the diaper snug. The only downfall to the velcro is that to wash it you really need to push the tabs down so they don’t stick to everything, and that’s one extra step when you have a dirty diaper to touch. I also hear that it wears out more quickly and that your baby can learn to take these off himself, which would not be good! These Bum Genius are least likely to leak as well.

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I also like the Blueberry brand. They don’t leak that much and they fit pretty well. We have about 6 of these and I find myself reaching for them often. I hate all the snaps, but I like the rest of them.

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With the pocket diapers you have to stuff them and remove the insert when it’s dirty before putting it in your wet bag. Both of these tasks are a little annoying, but I want to work with the diapers we have and am not going to buy a whole new set just to get all-in-ones or another type. Plus I wash my hands after anyways, so although it’s kind of gross, it doesn’t really add that much extra. I like that the pockets dry fast too (I hear that’s the number one drawback for AIOs).

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We discovered the hard way that you better have that whole insert tucked in or you’ll have leaks out the back from moisture wick! Another plus for the Bum Genius and Blueberry ones – they have a flap to hold the insert in.

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On the topic of inserts, the kind we have are adjustable with snaps. When Mazen was smaller, I was using them in the shorter position, but they were SO bulky inside. I started just unsnapping them and kind of shoving the rest of the insert in there, and they’re fitting a lot better now.

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Here’s one of our Baby Land diapers. I love the single row of snaps (the less snaps the better!) but these guys just don’t fit as well.

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I also bought some of these Babykicks hemp inserts hoping for magic absorption. I washed them 3 times before use as the directions say. They’re super thin so I was hoping for less bulk. The verdict is that they are just OK. They come as a duo pair sewn together and I tried separating them to singles and we had a big leak, so I think they really need to be two at a time in there, which means they’re about the same as the microfiber ones!

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It didn’t take me long to transition to cloth wipes either. A few times of trying to separate dirty disposable wipes from the cloth diaper into two receptacles and I knew cloth wipes were the answer to all of our problems.

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We have two packs of these OsoCozy ones and like them a lot. They are so soft!

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I researched cloth wipe solution one day and came up with this solution as the most simple for our family: this squirt bottle with 2 drops of our lavender baby wash inside. I was also using tea tree essential oil, but I just couldn’t stand the smell. I sometimes spray this right on M’s bottom and other times spray the wipe depending on how….wet….the bottom is Smile  I do prefer this to pre-soaking the wipes or having to go wet one in the bathroom, which both seem like a step of extra work.

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The wipes go straight from laundry to this cloth bin within reach of the changing table.

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We’re very happy with our PlanetWise Wet Bag. I do wish I had one more to rotate with the laundry because on laundry day I find a pile of diapers from that day on the dresser with no place to go because the bag is in the washer! I’ve also thought about just getting a pail to lift the lid for, but this is just sleeker and takes up less space. Unzipping it is a bit of a pain, but so would taking a lid off, so it’s just a fact of life.

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I did buy this diaper genie for disposables, which we do use on occasion – nighttime, when we’re out sometimes. I have no idea if we’ll be 100% cloth in the future, but for now I’d say we’re 90% cloth. I really like this Arm & Hammer model.

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Hmm what else.

OH – laundry!!!

I actually don’t mind washing the diapers that much because I like doing laundry. And something about folding and stuffing clean diapers is soooo satisfying. But what is driving me nuts is that they still seem to stink a little bit after the load. I’ve been doing rinse – wash – rinse. I use the Rockin’ Green and oxiclean in the wash. I’ve tried drying them in the drier and air drying (which I would prefer not to do because of the timing). I haven’t yet tried putting them in the sun because we haven’t had many sunny days lately! I was trying to go every 3 days between washes, but I’ve switched to every 2 and that might be helping. Any tips on getting rid of stink?

**{Edited to add}**

Just washed them in my parents’ new Kenmore washer and dryer with the same Rockin’ Green and I swear some of the stains have lifted and most of the stink is gone. Maybe our older W/D (which came with our house) are to blame? I find that hard to believe, but perhaps there is just something off about the way the cycle works on ours?

This site, Padded Tush Stats, has been a good resource for learning more about cloth diapers. I think I’m actually going to switch to powdered Tide next because it seems to be so highly rated for cloth diapers.

Another problem we have: overnight. BOTH the disposables and the cloth have been completely soaking Mazen, his PJs, swaddle and the sheet by the morning {edited to add the next size up of disposables has helped…somewhat}. SO annoying when I’m picking him up to nurse and have to do a complete costume change before he can. I guess we have a heavy wetter? Other than changing his diaper halfway through the night, what else can I do to get the cloth work for 10-12 hours? I have tried doubling up inserts and that didn’t help. I’m also concerned about the wet fabric being against him all night long. Are there any cloth diapers you swear by for nighttime? Should we just use disposables for nights?

I’m thinking about buying 3-5 more Bum Genius diapers, but I’m also open to hearing any that you all love. I’ve heard good things about Glow Bug, Flip, and Thirsties. Which do you like?

{ 154 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jennifer December 27, 2012 at 9:39 am

It is so interesting to read about other mum’s adventures with cloth! :) We did a ten week trial with a cloth diaper service and they provide a bag of clean, fitted, snap-closure cotton inserts every week (and take the dirty ones away!) We had to buy the water-proof outer covers and my favourites are the Bummis “Super Lite” because they come in nice solid colours, are easy to get on and off, wash well, and prevent leaks. We had issues with leaking when our son grew out of the newborn size, but when we switched to the next size up (which covers 10-17 pound babies) he was fine. We have six covers and launder them a few times a week. When our trial with the service is over I’ll probably buy some of the inserts from them and just wash those myself. Our washing machine is a few years old, but it does have a “sanitary” setting, which seems to keep the smells at bay!

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2 kim @ vegan mama December 27, 2012 at 9:41 am

I’m not a cloth diapering expert, but we’ve been using them for around 10 months, so I have a few suggestions.

As for the leaking, we found that if we changed her diaper more often, the leaking stopped. I do diaper changes every 1.5 hours, as opposed to every 2-3 hours with disposables. Of course, poops are changed immediately.

When her diapers start to smell, I throw in 1/2 cup white vinegar to the last rinse cycle and that takes care of it. I’ve also found that liquid detergent works much better for us than the powder, which we tried at first. I’m sure this depends on the type of water & washer/dryer you have.

As for night time, we have resorted to just using disposables. The most absorbant for us are the Huggies Overnites – http://www.huggies.com/en-US/products/diapers/overnites – though I much prefer to buy Seventh Generation. They just didn’t make the cut for 10-12 hours of use. We found a combination of double or triple stuffing the cloths for overnight use, but they just seemed ridiculously bulky – I couldn’t imagine it would be comfortable for her.

Good luck!

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3 HeatherC December 27, 2012 at 11:16 pm

I second the Huggies overnights. They are the only ones that work for long night stretches in our house :)

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4 Lauri December 28, 2012 at 9:10 am

Huggies overnights are the way to go!!

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5 Stephanie December 28, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Huggies Overnites were the only diaper my youngest son could wear..night or day. He was a heavy wetter. Nothing else worked, disposable or cloth.

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6 ds December 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm

5th these! They are the best!

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7 Holly December 29, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Huggies overnights in the next size up are the only thing that has worked for us at night and I think we tried about 5 or 6 other brands. We have a heavy wetter and it will get worse as he starts to roll and sleep on his tummy. It all pools in the front.

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8 lisa fine December 27, 2012 at 9:46 am

Loved reading this, and starred it it my favorites for future rereading (hopefully you’ll get lots of great tips in the comments!).

We don’t have kids yet, but we’re hoping to go green as much as possible, and plan to do the cloth diapers.

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9 Jess December 27, 2012 at 9:47 am

I don’t have a lot of input to share on cloth diapering although I’ve heard fitted diapers are good for nighttime. They are different than OS diapers because the whole thing is absorbent, not just the liner.
Learned about this from here: http://erniebufflo.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/hippie-crap-a-cloth-diaper-post/
And here is her follow-up CDing post: http://erniebufflo.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/cloth-diapering-twins-5-months-in/
(Not my blog, just a reader, FYI!)

Also, if you want to stick with sposies for nighttime, we have had the best luck with Pampers Extra Protection. Some people swear by Huggies Overnights, but we always had leaks with those. They start at size 3, which is 16 pounds. But we started putting our daughter in these when she was around 12 pounds or so. How much does M weigh now?
http://www.diapers.com/p/pampers-extra-protection-overnight-jumbo-pack-16917

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10 Lauren December 27, 2012 at 9:47 am

I loved thirsties with microfiber inserts, I plan to use just those for my next hypothetical child ;) Also, we started using Huggies overnights as soon as my son was 15 pounds. I figured 1 disposable a day was no biggie and just better for everyone’s sleep.

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11 Nicole December 27, 2012 at 9:49 am

I used Fuzzi Bunz and always doubled up at night and never had any leaks. Plus that’s the good thing about pocket diapers with fleece–your baby doesn’t have any wet touching him even when the inserts are soaked.

Also, just as a cheap alternative…I went and bought a huge pack of value washcloths from Babies R Us and cut them in half and used them as wipes.

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12 Hope December 27, 2012 at 9:50 am

My son also has issues with completely soaking his diaper, pjs and sheet in pee at night. We use disposables and have tried every brand that we can get our hands on. We also used an overnight cloth diaper insert inside the disposable (at the recommendation of a friend) and that didn’t work. We recently started using these inside of a disposable: http://www.amazon.com/Tranquility-TopLiner-Booster-Diaper-Inserts/dp/B000FCF0AS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1356619674&sr=8-2&keywords=mini+topliner. It works! My son can still pee through all of that on occassion but it’s usually not until the morning when it’s already time to get up.

I’m no help with cloth diapers but this is what has worked for us. Good luck!

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13 aimee December 27, 2012 at 9:54 am

ever try putting an overnight maxi pad in his diaper at night? my daughters never leaked, but the little boys i nannied for leaked every night and they used the pad and it seemed to work pretty well.

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14 Averie @ Averie Cooks December 27, 2012 at 9:55 am

My favorite diapers are the Bum Genius velcro ones. = when I was CD’ing 3 year ago, they were my faves, too.

I also liked Blueberry but the snaps. Ugh.

With regard to leaking, I used to put TWO Bum Genius inserts into the diaper, yes two. They were THICK and huge and puffy but the issue with leaks, resolved 95% of the time.

Wipes – I used to put about 1/2 gallon water in a big bowl with a few drops of tea tree (or skip it if you hate it) and lavendar drops, put 20 wipes in, then put the now wet wipes into our wipe warmer. Worked like a charm.

The whole eating healthy analogy is perfect – why would anyone WANT to do something that seemed harder and more work, but eventually you realize that it’s not so bad and you actually want to do it!

Stink – Buy BioKleen Bac-Out It’s a green, diaper-friendly destinker that you can use on everything from diapers to pet stains on your carpet. 1/4 cup in a load of laundry, just squirt it in, will cure your problems. It’s kinda pricey like $7.99 for a liter if I recall but worth it!

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15 Jen December 27, 2012 at 10:03 am

I’m no help with your questions, but thanks for posting this! I’m almost in my second tri and am reading any posts on cloth diapering that I find so I can be well prepared. Looking forward to hearing people’s responses.

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16 Halsy December 27, 2012 at 10:07 am

I do not cloth diaper(just couldn’t get over the laundry part ). However, my friends who do still put their children in a Pampers Baby Dry diaper for night. This is also what I use and they work great for my little girl. I did have problem at first with her wetting out back. Ped told me I was putting them too loose. She said tabs should touch for better part of time using that diaper size. Also as child gets about half way to weight reccommendation, go up to next baby dry size. This has worked for us so far! Hope cloth diapering continues to work for you and you find a good overnight cloth diaper solution!

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17 Ellis December 27, 2012 at 10:09 am

We have used cloth diapers about 80% of the time since my little boy was about 5 months old. I tried to start earlier, but most of the diapers I had seemed to fit him better with less leaks once he got a little bigger. He has been in the 50% for weight and 75-85% for height most of his life, so he’s just a tall, skinny guy. :)

We use the Flip diapers with the cloth inserts most of the time. I like that you can double up the cloth as needed. We also have the disposable inserts, but haven’t used them much. I have found that once you figure out what “snap setting” works for you, snaps are not as much of a hassle! I do have one BumGenius with Velcro that I love, and if I had it to do over, I would have gotten more of those! I got one of the sampler packs from cottonbabies.com, which was a good way to try several different brands at once.

We had the same overnight wetting problem as you, and we finally ended up switching to Huggies Overnight for nights after trying a million different insert combinations, diaper types, etc.

Good for you for trying it out! I have found that a different combination works for everyone. Have a good day!

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18 Tiffany December 27, 2012 at 10:14 am

For overnight, we definitely changed halfway through the night at feeding time for several months. It wasn’t until around 6 months when DD slept through the night that we didn’t. At that point, we double diapered. You could try that now.

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19 Emily December 27, 2012 at 10:24 am

Funky Fluff. These are a Canadian company from Toronto and they also have amazing wetbags with two pockets and also diaper pail liners. They are awesome.

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20 Judy December 27, 2012 at 10:28 am

I’ve got to be honest with you – I don’t understand the big to do about cloth diapers. We (I) used them with our first (who just turned 30 last week.) Back then we used diaper pins and plastic diaper covers. Rarely had a problem with leaking. Very few diaper rashes. I used disposable liners that you just flushed down the toilet. Not as convenient or easy as disposables, but we had limited $$ back then and access to free washer and dryer.

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21 Patricia December 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Thanks, Judy, for this. I was thinking the same thing. We were “green” before there was really a choice. This was years ago also–disposables were available but we couldn’t justify the cost so we cloth diapered all our children using rectangular cotton diapers that had to be folded, large safety pins, and plastic/vinyl pants. I washed, dried, and folded a load of diapers EVERY day when they were young. Not a big deal. Just part of having a baby back then.

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22 Sarah December 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I second that! I cloth-diapered all four of my kids (age range now is 13-20) and used vinyl pants and pins. I think people are freaked out about pins nowadays, but I never once stuck one of my babies, although I did stick myself a few times. We never had diaper rash, rarely had leaks. I didn’t have to do any special “stripping” process. Sounds like an awful waste of water to me. I wonder if it’s still possible to buy the old-fashioned pre-folds? Even in the early ’90s, I used to have to troll the classified ads in the back of Mothering magazine to find good quality, basic cloth diapers.

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23 Carolyn December 28, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Yes, prefolds are still a popular option for many people (although they come in all sorts of different materials now! Hemp, bamboo, various kinds of cotton . . . ) and there are actually quite a few people who like to use pins still! (Though vinyl pants do seem to have been replaced by nicer materials – I don’t think anybody misses those!) :) As cloth diapers have gotten more advanced, they have gotten more complicated in many ways (most notably the way you are “supposed” to wash them!) I just wash mine the way I would anything else that had poop on them, and after almost 2 years they are holding up just fine! :)

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24 Cindy December 27, 2012 at 10:32 am

Hi Kath! My son is 1 year old and we’ve been cloth diapering since almost 3 or 4 weeks. First of all, I want to say – hang in there! It gets easier (even the snaps!) to adjust the fit.

At the beginning, I always felt like I had a hard time finding the right fit/snap configuration, I think you are right that it is tough when they are small. When my little guy got a bit bigger, we found the right combo of snaps (and actually I prefer them now, my velcro is already wearing out and I think I’m going to have to replace some soon :( ugh) and got into a groove where I can snap him in pretty quickly.

I also had a few diapers that never fit my guy’s chunky thighs well and we always got leaks, so eventually I just stopped using them (saving them for maybe baby #2). So I do think that certain diapers fit certain babies better (depending on size of thighs, belly, length, etc.)

We have a few different types, but my favorites are Bum Genius and Rumparooz. Both stretch and fit so well and I find that the snaps on them work well for us.

And for nighttime, we got the same hemp liners you have and I use a whole one (double) with one of the newborn smaller microfiber inserts from the Bum Genius diapers. Yes, it is super bulky, but it is what has worked for us and my son wakes up without leaks now.

The last thing I’ll say (which you probably have already noticed) is that I do find that I have to change the cloth diapers more frequently than in disposable. We still use disposable for traveling (or if we run out, or I am sick, etc.) And I find he can go longer without a change in a disposable. In a cloth, I find I need to change him at least every 2-3 hours.

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25 Helen December 27, 2012 at 10:33 am

We love the BumGenius 4.0 with snaps (Harriet has a few of them with the velcro and they just are really wearing out quickly!). Harriet is four months old and has been in them 100% of the time for over 3 months now. I think you are on to something with using a better/newer washer. We got a new Samsung front loader and the diapers are much cleaner, we find (though, we’re excited for the spring to come so we can put them outside to dry because the sun really bleaches out any stains!). We also are now using a new laundry soap, Nellie’s Laundry Soda (you can get it on Amazon and it lasts forever we are finding), and it works so, so well. There is no smell and they wash beautifully. Lastly, have you thought about trying bamboo or hemp inserts? We have never had a leak and we stuff our diapers with the large BumGenius insert for bedtime plus a bamboo insert.

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26 Helen December 27, 2012 at 11:00 am

Blah, I just realized you use the Hemp inserts. I read that part, but missed that they were hemp. Bamboo may still work, though!

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27 Jenny @ For Your Consideration December 27, 2012 at 10:35 am

Oh man. I would love to cloth diaper my little one. It does seem like so much work though. I like your analogy about going from eating kind of junky food to health food in terms of the extra effort it takes to go from disposable to cloth. Well, we’ll see what happens after the little guy gets here. (Induction is scheduled for tomorrow!)

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28 jen December 27, 2012 at 10:45 am

we have always used disp diapers and I am thinking about cloth for our 3rd but it sounds like so much work! One thing that helped us with overnight leaking was going up a size fr nights. I also tucked the back of the diaper in to help keep it from leaking up their backs.

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29 Ginna December 27, 2012 at 10:49 am

This may be a silly question but I know boy moms who didn’t know about this… Are you making sure to put his boy part down when putting a new diaper on? We don’t cloth diaper but did have to go to an overnight diaper once my LO started sttn.

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30 Nancy December 27, 2012 at 10:57 am

Amalah is the best source of cloth diapering info that I’ve seen…
http://www.amalah.com/amalah/cloth-diapers/

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31 Kristi December 27, 2012 at 11:00 am

Interesting thoughts! I bought a lot of barely used 18 bumgenius with snaps on ebay for a very reasonable price. I had hoped to start using them early on but am still waiting for them to fit. My son is only 3 weeks old but so far absolutely hates diaper changes and gets so worked up he cries tears! I’m hoping he grows out of this (soon!) but for now I am a bit worried about the time it will take to wrestle with snaps!! Good for you for sticking with it, keep us posted!

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32 Carolyn December 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm

It can take quite a while for one-size diapers to fit :( It obviously depends on the weight and build of your baby at birth and the particular diaper, but my 10.5 pound 9 week old baby doesn’t fit into most OS diapers yet (but she was born 6 pounds, so if you have a bigger baby, you’ll obviously get to use your new diapers sooner!) Most OS diapers start to fit somewhere between 10-12 pounds, and while snaps will definitely last you longer, it can be harder to get a good fit on a tiny baby. So just hang in there and keep trying them on occasion – he’ll eventually fit into them and you’ll get super fast with the snaps, I swear ;)

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33 Kristi December 29, 2012 at 12:40 pm

He was born 6 lb 13 oz! So I knew it’d be a while…at 1 month he is still in newborn clothes and diapers even though he is growing fast and probably close to 8lbs by now. If I’d known he’d be small I would’ve bought some newborn cloth dipes but oh well!! I just can’t wait to see him in the cute diapers :)

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34 Carolyn January 10, 2013 at 4:03 am

Hahaha, my little one is 11 weeks and still in the newborn clothes (though I think she’s probably finally outgrown newborn disposables, but I haven’t had a reason to check lately!) What’s funny is with both pregnancies I’ve had gestational diabetes (which makes them worry about the baby getting too big!) and I had a 5 pounder and a 6 pounder ;) Life would be much easier if you could KNOW in advance what size baby it would end up being, but oh well! Better to have diapers to grow into than newborn ones that you never got to use!

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35 Cathy December 27, 2012 at 11:01 am

I’ve cloth diapered my toddler for the last 2 1/2 years. Getting a good fit was tough at the beginning and took some practice to figure out what snap setting to use or where to put the velcro. If you are going to buy some more diapers, I would strongly encourage you to get snaps, even though you don’t like them now. Once the baby starts to move, velcro never stayed put on my guy and the diaper would just fall off.

I never found a solution for overnight and we’ve done disposable since he was probably 4 or 5 months old.

I like Country Save detergent for washing. When we had a stink issue, I actually used a little bleach with my bum genius diapers. Their website says it’s ok and it worked well. I also do 2-3 rinses after they’ve been washed.

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36 Kathleen Ojo @ Onward; Inward December 27, 2012 at 11:07 am

I’ve been cloth diapering for the past 3 months or so (since baby girl was 8 weeks), and I love reading what other moms are doing! We haven’t had any problems with leaks, but I do find that her diaper needs to be changed more often than with disposables. She wets heaviest in the morning, so we don’t go more than 1.5-2 hours then without a change.

I have a collection of about 15 AIOs (Just Simply Baby and Fuzzibuns) which are super convenient especially for grandparents and other caretakers. One thing – are you sure that you have to remove the insert from your AIOs before washing? I just leave them in there, they come out by themselves in the wash and always get clean.

We also have about 5 Flip covers (a mix of snap and velcro) with inserts (probably 30? I have no idea how I collected so many) that I love. It’s so convenient to just toss the wet insert, stick in a new one, and use the same cover. Nobody else in my family seems to like them as much (I think they don’t like having to line up the insert in the cover before putting the diaper on, and touching the wet insert). They’re kind of a pain with poo because you have to toss the cover as well, but I’m pretty good about guessing when the little one will be doing #2 so I try and have an AIO on her when that happens.

We’re still using disposables at night, and I don’t see that changing. Given our current sleep woes, I am not about to start changing diapers/clothes/sheets in the middle of the night.

We only do laundry twice a week, usually Sunday and Wednesday. You may want to consider expanding your stash a bit – especially if he’s leaking and you need to change more often.

I love your plan with the cloth wipes too! I’m still using disposables, but I’m tempted to expand into cloth one of these days.

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37 Michele December 27, 2012 at 11:14 am

I cloth diapered both of my kids which was 6 and 9 years ago but I’m expecting again in April and hope to CD as well. Have you tried a wool cover over your CD? A well lanolized wool cover or pants/shorts will definitely help with soaked clothing. Using a wool cover was my favorite with fitteds. Lots of cute fun fabrics.

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38 Lisa December 27, 2012 at 11:37 am

My advice: don’t buy into the “build up” hype. It’s a myth (unless you are using copious amounts of fabric softener). Wash on hot water with lots of detergent. Occasionally use a little bleach. Voila!

(if you get a stinky smell, they aren’t getting clean- wash again with more detergent and some bleach!)

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39 Lisa December 27, 2012 at 11:38 am

And for what it’s worth, I’ve been cloth diapering for 10+ years straight now. LOL

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40 Carolyn December 28, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Amen :) It shouldn’t be so complicated to wash something that has poop on it!

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41 Maria Peters December 27, 2012 at 11:46 am

We love our Bum Genius diapers! We have about 20 of them and wash every two days. My son is now 2.5 and potty training. So our 15 week old is inheriting his diapers. Some of the BuGenius have had their Velcro die and we replaced them with Charlie Banana snaps I got on clearance at Target. The key to snaps is to have 3 snaps, one at the thigh and two at the waist, to get the best fit possible. Also, ensure that the elongated side tabs from the re pulled up and back, you don’t want a gap in there.

I used to get stinky diapers with our newer front loading w/d with Rockin Green and have recently switched to Charlie’s soap and things are much better. No stickies or rashes. I honestly don’t think Rockin Green is worth all of the hype.

Experiment with your settings on your washing machine. We start with a full cold cycle on the heaviest, longest setting (made for heavily soiled towels) along with a stain cycle (two extra rinses). Then we do a hot/cold cycle on the same heavy setting with a 30 min soak, three rinses and a longer/faster spin cycle to get all of the water out of the diapers and shorten dry time. We also do not dry our Velcro covers. You will get a lot longer life out of the covers if you don’t dry them. I partially blame the Velcro failing on some of our diapers after 18 months on drying the cover too often.

For night time we used one hemp/cotton insert and two microfiber inserts (one of the snapping ones and one smaller infant insert) in a Bum Genius diaper, worked Ike a charm for 12 hours with a heavy wetter, even into the toddler years. Stack the microfiber inserts towards baby with the hemp insert next to the waterproof part of the diaper cover. This will ensure that the moisture is pulling away from baby. You can also lay a reusable fleece liner on top of the diaper (used to catch poop in older babies that are eating solids, when you don’t want to simply run the poop through your machine and need to flush it). This will keep baby’s bottom drier.

Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions or want me to elaborate on anything. There is definitely a learning curve, but once you gets the hang of it you may prefer cloth to disposables!

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42 Angelica December 27, 2012 at 11:51 am

Do you know if you have hard water in your area? I use RG Hard Rock plus 1/4 cap full of liquid Calgon in my wash cycle. Do you use an old school or HE washer? Have you checked the seams for leaks (esp since they’re used)? As for leaky nights, try putting a hemp insert UNDER the microfiber (since MF wicks faster) and stuffing them in the (roomy) Blueberries. I also like stuffing hemp in my TotsBots EasyFit for nighttime. Sounds like you’re experiencing a similar learning process to my own! Way to stick the course!

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43 Angelica December 27, 2012 at 11:58 am

(The hard water question was to try and determine another cause for the leaks and stink, btw. Ditto on the Bac-Out and vinegar suggestions!)

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44 Mere December 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Fuzzibunz are my favorite. My son wore them until he was 2.5 years old and we never had any leaks. They did have a little bit of an odor problem and I stripped them often. I had the best luck using dawn dish soap to get rid of the smell. Just a few squirts in the washer machine and rinsed them until there were no more soap suds in the rinse water.
As far as having leaks at night, you’ll have that until he starts sleeping through the night. If he’s eating every 2-4 hours at night then he will have a lot more output than if he is going for 6-8 hour stretches without food.
There is such a huge learning curve in all aspects of parenting…and it’s all trial and error. What an adventure!

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45 Ray December 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Have you considered simply using prefolds with covers? I’m thinking about going that route with my son due in feb. It seems like the most basic option. Would love to know if any other readers used these.

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46 Claire December 27, 2012 at 4:18 pm

That’s what we use and we LOVE them. We’ve used them since the day our girl came home from the hospital (pre-folds + Thirsties Duo covers w/snaps) and they fit her great even when she was 8 lbs, we’ve only had one poop explosion in over a year of CD’ing, no diaper rash and the only pee leaks have been from “user” error. I highly recommend them, and they are no more effort than any other CD, in my opinion. Another plus is that they are 100% cotton (and you can buy organic prefolds) so no synthetics touching your baby’s skin unlike other cloth diapers.

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47 Carolyn December 28, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Prefolds and covers always worked best on my scrawny newborns, and I continue to use them as an option in my stash of pockets and AIOs as well! I go through phases where I like certain diapers better than others, but there’s something so nice and simple about trifolding a prefold and laying it in a cover – when you’re done you toss it in the pail and grab a clean one :) Also, I’m trying a bamboo prefold for the first time and LOVE it! So some of the other fabrics are worth looking into (especially for nights!)

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48 Megan December 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I don’t know about the leaking, but I just wanted to throw another brand of cloth diapers – Little Bee Company Diapers. They’re a great local (to me) company. For every diaper that you buy, one diaper goes to an orphanage somewhere in the world. They’re a one-sized pocket diaper. I actually prefer them to the Bum Genius diaper I got. They’re elastic on the front and back, which I think results in a tighter fit. There is definitely a learning curve with cloth diapers, but it is so worth it!

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49 Erika December 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm

I like the website Diaper Junction for most of our cloth diaper needs. We use GroVia cloth diapers and have been very happy with them. I also use Tiny Bubbles powder detergent. Strip them with Dawn dish soap. We do use overnight disposable diapers though and them haven’t leaked much for us.

I just change the insert and diaper part every time because I’m washing them every 2 days anyways and we have enough diapers – that way I just throw away my wipe then unsnap everything but keep it balled up and throw it in the wetbag. That way when I go to empty the wetbag I’m not reaching into a bag of opened dirty inserts and diapers and then just shake out the insert into the wash.

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50 Janet December 27, 2012 at 1:25 pm

This might help – since I do not have children yet, I thought this may help.
http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2012/12/wool-diaper-covers-a-perfect-nighttime-cloth-diaper-solution.html
Good Luck

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51 ES December 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm

I only cloth diapered my tike for a few months (I didn’t like the bulkiness of the ones we had and I couldn’t justify spending more). We also used Country Save. Four boxes for $88. I bought them 18 months ago and just now am finishing the last of the four boxes (!!!) Can’t beat that!!

I always put him in a huggies overnight one size up. No issues with leaks. But I agree with whoever said you might need to change him more often.

Also, I think you mean, “it’s all uphill from here.” “It’s all downhill from here” is a negative term.

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52 Jen December 27, 2012 at 8:52 pm

I think “it’s all downhill from here” is correct if you’re trying to say its all going to get easier from here on. Kind of like saying it’s all coasting from here, the hard uphill pedaling is done (for a bike analogy). And sledding downhill is sure as heck easier than dragging the sled back up!

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53 KERF December 27, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Yes, that’s what I mean. It should get easier once we get the hang of it

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54 Emily S December 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm

We use Grovia one size hook three in one diapers. They. Are. Amazing. I actually get sad when we travel and have to use disposables (and I can tell baby prefers them as well…) They are very absorbent–he’s only leaked through them twice, both middle of the night accidents. We bought 24 and wash every other day. I love cloth diapering because of these diapers!!!

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55 Marie December 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm

With 15 diapers and aiming for a 3 day laundry cycle (though I know you said you switched to 2), I am thinking that maybe the leaking would be helped by changing more often. I attended a workshop here and was told more like one would need 12 for a DAILY laundry wash with a younger baby.

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56 Emily December 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Do you know how long your diapers were used? Does the elastic seem tight enough? It could need replacing. You might try some new inserts. Cloth diapers don’t necessarily last forever. I would also try the Tide. I really liked abbyslane.com for information. Do you know what type of water you have, hard/soft? because that can make a difference in the washing routine that will work for you. I seem to remember you posting about a cloth diapering group in your town, I would hit them up for wash routines because they would likely be dealing with similar water.

How often are you changing because 15 diapers lasting 3 days doesn’t sound like it’s often enough with a baby that young.

One of the comments mentioned fitteds and covers for overnight but I would caution you that if you find it annoying/gross to pull an insert out of a pocket diaper then I would stay away from fitteds. The whole thing gets wet and gross.

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57 Lauren December 29, 2012 at 11:34 pm

I second Abby’s Lane. They are located in Manassas, VA. Not sure how close that is to Charlottesville, but I’m sure they would be happy to help you troubleshoot!

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58 Shel@PeachyPalate December 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I totally want to use cloth when I have a baby, harder work but so much better in the long run for the environment! :)

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59 Kate December 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm

One thought about the leaking/stripping…Are you using fabric softeners in your washer or dryer with the adult laundry? If so, you might need to stop using them all together and strip your machines clean!

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60 Caitlin December 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I don’t know if this has already been mentioned above, but leaving the inserts unsnapped and just stuffing them in to the diaper may be contributing to your leaks. It’s important for the insert to lay flat in order to absorb properly. We now use our BG inserts completely unsnapped but C is on the largest setting in his one size BGs. Also, we dealt for a while with compression leaks, especially when he was in the carseat or the bouncer at daycare. Eventually, once he was more mobile, these just stopped.

If your diapers are smelling like ammonia, you can try the Rockin’ Green Funk Rock in your prewash. Also, we switched from Rockin’ Green to Eco Sprout because it is supposed to help battle ammonia better. What is your wash routine?

My favorite diapers are Swaddlebees by far…I’m sad we only have 2 of these in our stash! And we still use disposables overnight but have looked into using fitteds with a cover since they’re supposed to be more absorbent.

Good luck!

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61 Nikki T December 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I just started Hazel in her cloth diapers about 2weeks ago and so far we are loving it, even my husband! She definitely has ghetto booty syndrome since she isn’t even 9 lbs yet, but so far no leaks, day or night. We use 3 kinds that we bought new… Bum Genius 4.0, Bum Genius organic AIO and Thirsties. I find the Thirsties are the nicest fit for her size right now and we got the ones that the liners agitate out in the wash, so no pulling the dirty liner out!

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62 aimee December 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm

hazel is my daughters name too :) great name!

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63 Claire December 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I hear that wool covers do the trick… I have a friend that does wool covers for night and another friend who is on her 4th child has gone to only wool covers

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64 Jenn December 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm

I cloth diaper but we use a diaper service so I can’t help you there. When my daughter was a baby for overnights we just doubled up and at one point we tripled up (she STTN) and she was so bulky she couldn’t lay right!

With this baby we use pampers overnights he is the same age as Mazen but he STTN. They work great. I know using cloth is supposed to be the greener option but if you take into account all the water/electricity etc. used to get them clean it’s not any greener but at least there are less diapers in the landfill.

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65 Stephanie Hobbs December 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I admit to feeling a little guilty that you’re having so much trouble! A lot of the things you listed are reasons why I ended up throwing in the towel. We never had too many leaks, thankfully, but the slight smell after washing was so frustrating! I’ve heard sunning them works well, but I wasn’t able to do that. I hope the way I was treating them isn’t to blame for the issues you’re having :(

Anyway, I AM glad that you’re figuring it out, though! You are a lot more patient than me, haha.

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66 KERF December 27, 2012 at 7:00 pm

No worries at all! We are still very thankful!

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67 Celeste December 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I didn’t cloth diaper, but about the 10-12 hours at night – you wouldn’t expect Mazen to go from 8AM to 8PM without a diaper change, right? That would be insane! Especially since he is still waking up to feed..well…its gotta go SOMEWHERE! ;-) We would always wake up, diaper change, nurse back to sleep. Once we were better at it, sometimes I could nurse him in bed as my husband changed him (side-lie nursing) and we could all go back to sleep much faster.

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68 Marie December 27, 2012 at 8:26 pm

I’m assuming that was a misunderstanding or a typo (can’t be 12 hours without a change), surely even disposables aren’t meant to go through 10-12 hours overnight! I would assume that if they are up at night to nurse, they get changed if wet then too? My baby isn’t here until another month yet but I do know that with cloth you can’t really leave them in a wet nappy for too long without it starting to squish out of the fabric when they move or put pressure on it.

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69 KERF December 27, 2012 at 9:30 pm

I think babies who sleep 12 hours through the night don’t have parents that wake them up to change them. But what is different is what others have said that if they’re not awake to get then they go a lot less

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70 Marie December 27, 2012 at 9:42 pm

That makes sense, and yeah, I wouldn’t think one would wake the baby to change, but STTN at 3 months would be the exception I would think, especially for a BF baby and likely not for 10 or more hours right? Do any babies STTN for 12 hours? I think that would actually worry me. LOL But if the baby is up and nursing, I think especially if they are in cloth, to prevent leaks, it would help to change them before putting them back down. That’s what I see as the practice most places it’s been discussed.

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71 KERF December 27, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Yes, lots of babies sleep 12 hours :) But mostly older ones who don’t need to eat at night. Our nighttime sessions are reallllly quite, dark, brief – quick nurse in the bed and back to sleep. Changing his diaper would (and does when I have to) completely wake up him and disturb his sleepy slumber. I guess it’s just weighing the pros and cons.

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72 Angelica December 28, 2012 at 5:50 am

My daughter (16 months) still does not STTN, but “wakes” a couple times to nurse. She immediately falls back asleep, so changing her diaper would ruin her sleep routine. That means, yes, she goes about 12 hours with the same diaper, which means it gets pretty heavy. Twelve hours of sleep (meaning babies might wake just to soothe themselves to sleep, just as any other person does) is actually optimal once babies are past the newborn stage. Good luck, Marie!

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73 jen December 28, 2012 at 8:47 am

Ditto to Angelica. Our girl, even at an early age, hated diaper changes and we found that when we changed her when she woke to nurse (which was usually at least 3 times/night till she was 9 months or so) it would make her completely wake up and then she’d be an upset, sleepy mess and very hard to resettle. We tried all the tricks like changing her in the dark and only warm wipes, etc. but in the end decided to just try not changing her at night. I felt a bit worried about it at first but it worked wonders!

She only ever made it about 10 hours a night, so we probably never went a whole 12 without a change, but if she would have kept sleeping we would have gone that long quite happily. We just started protecting her bums with cream so avoid moisture irritation and she never got a smidge of diaper rash (until the teeth started coming through – but that was from teething poop and a whole ‘nother story!).

We never had leaks, but maybe she just isn’t as heavy a wetter as some kids? Or maybe because she’s a girl? We use disposables (Target brand) and by morning they’re pretty heavy and soaked, but nothing ever actualyl leaks out.

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74 KERF December 28, 2012 at 8:52 am

{I should also add that we always change poop diapers even in the night, but that’s a rare occasion!}

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75 Lauri December 28, 2012 at 9:12 am

By 3 months my baby (although formula fed not BF) was pretty much sleeping 7-7…Sleeping 12 hours is possible! And true for a lot of babies….

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76 KERF December 28, 2012 at 9:25 am

{jealous :) }

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77 natasha December 28, 2012 at 9:32 am

My baby is 26 months and STILL doesn’t sleep through the night! My first wasn’t a good sleeper either but my second was, now my third child isn’t…I would be in heaven if she slept even 8 hours straight!

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78 jen December 28, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I’m with you Natasha – though my girl is only 18 months she’s not currently STTN. We had a blessed month around 14 months where she did, but it’s seemed like reflux (early on) and now teething have kept her too uncomfortable to sleep most nights. Long term interrupted/broken sleep sure does a number on you doesn’t it? Or at least it does on me.

I would LOVE (like you) to get a good second sleeper (due in July). But I’m not getting my hopes up. We shall see.

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79 Celeste December 28, 2012 at 7:15 pm

I guess what I’m saying is even though its unlikely babies who STTN get middle of the night diaper changes, they also may not need them because they are STTN. If your baby isn’t sleeping through the night, which means nursing or wetness, then you should maybe change him. If you do it first, then nurse him (especially of you can change him in the dark) it may not be too much longer. (At 26 months, my son still doesn’t sleep through the night – he wakes up between midnight and two to jump in our bed – but we no longer change him, and haven’t had to in maybe year? If his diaper leaks its usually a sign that he is ready for the next size up).

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80 Carolyn December 28, 2012 at 3:44 pm

It is definitely possible for a diaper to last 12 hours at night! But they’re generally thicker diapers than you’d use during the day because you need more absorbency :) But both my toddler and newborn stay in the same diaper all night, whether or not they wake up to eat! :)

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81 Steph k. December 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I’ve found that my son also leaked alot in the one row of snap diapers. When he was maze’s size I had him in prefolds diapers with covers. When he was about 5 months we switched to exclusively bum genius and they are great!

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82 Morgan December 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Until they fit into size 3 diapers, use Pamper’s Baby Dry for overnight. SO many moms swear by them. Once they reach size 3 and up, switch to Pamper’s Overnight Protection!

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83 Laura December 27, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I am on baby #2 and have used mostly cloth diapers for both. I used nothing but Softbums diapers with my first, and am still using the same diapers and covers on baby#2. I can say that my Softbums beat disposables hands down for leaking. They are AI2’s (they have a pocket version also called Omni that you can then use either way, and those are great for the toddler age as they are also a bit larger) but I never stuff the pocket, I use them as AI2’s also. The Softbums covers are adjustable for newborn up to toddler and I’ve used the same set of covers for 3 years and two kids now. Super easy to adjust for size as baby grows – it’s just elastic and a toggle in the leg opening. Velcro closures. I have the more expensive organic bamboo inserts and they are super absorbable and very slim, definitely worth the extra cost. I got a mystery package of random brands of cloth diapers for baby #2 but still like my softbums better than anything that was in the grab bag, although I dont’ mind the Flip one actually.

We use disposable wipes, and disposables at night. I have used cloth at night and have not had issues, but I was always paranoid that feeling more wet at night might lead to wakings and I wanted all the sleep I could get! Our diaper pail system is we have a Dekko pail (the way the Genie operates you can’t modify it for cloth), and instead of the refills you can buy for it, we just put in a Kissaluvs wet bag the way you’d put a garbage bag into a regular garbage can. So it functions like a regular garbage can, but with a trapdoor that the diaper quickly falls through and it slaps back into place, to minmize any smells escaping. On laundry day I just pull out the whole wet bag and throw it all in the wash.

Breastmilk poop goes right on the diaper and right into the wash. Once they start solids, I began using disposable diaper liners and would then throw the poop away separately before washing. (I actually have two diaper pails, one for disposable stuff, and the other next to it for cloth.)

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84 Katherine December 28, 2012 at 2:11 am

So glad to see someone recommend Softbums! A friend suggested we get these for our little guy, now 4 months old, and I have been really satisfied with them. To be sure, I’m not a cloth diaper expert – we haven’t bothered to try any other brands because we’re very pleased with Softbums.

We did have some leaking at first, but once we figured out the correct fit (snugger than we’d assumed, especially around the waist) that problem was solved. At night we use a “minipod” folded inside the regular “pod” and this extra layer (though it creates some bulk) seems to help. We do change the baby at night when he nurses – usually two changes over the course of eight hours. We do diaper laundry every two days, and I find it very gratifying!

What you had to say about “stripping” was news to me – never had this problem with our diapering system. The cloth wipes we use, though (flannel, purchased on Etsy), seem almost waxy and water beads on the surface. The more we use them (and launder them), the less this is an issue. Would stripping, as you describe it, take care of the water beading problem?

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85 Clare December 27, 2012 at 5:08 pm

We’ve been in cloth since our son was four months old (I think). He’s now coming up for two. We stopped using detergent about six months ago and haven’t looked back since. Our nappies are soft and absorbent after every wash, and they don’t smell of wet dog. We do wash quite hot though, often at 60C (unless we forget to turn the dial).

I use just plain water on the wipes — I put ten or so in a plastic box and wet them so they are ready to use. Recently, though, he’s been asking us to warm his wipes under the hot tap! I’ve heard that some bottoms are sensitive to tea tree, so your nose might have been trying to tell you something.

I would definitely second the ‘winkle pointing down’ advice!

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86 Nicole December 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm

I’ve been waiting to hear about your experience with the cloth diapers. We have 25 of the bumGenius Freetimes. Less than the Elementals, but still pricey at $20 a pop. Some were gifts, but most were purchased by us but thankfully during a sale. We love them because they’re basically like disposables except reusable. They’re easy to use, even though the snaps can be hard with a squirmy baby sometimes. I also use the flannel wipes, but I just wet with water. We have very few leaks with the cloth.

This week we’ve been traveling out of state, so we’re using disposables. Worst.things.ever! Every time Lucy poops, there’s a leak. It’s driving me nuts.

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87 Carolyn December 28, 2012 at 5:18 pm

In my experience, when we had a leak with a disposable, it was poop. If we have a leak in a cloth diaper, it’s almost always just pee. I’ll take the pee leak any day of the week! :)

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88 Lindsey December 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm

I have used Thirsties Duo wraps for both of my girls now (3 1/2 and out of diapers and the little one is 8 months) I love it. I have two different sized prefolds which is perfect for growing. We started using the larger size at about 4 months just overnight. Soon we will use them all day and double up the smaller ones for night time. The only leak problems are completely our own fault waiting too long to change the poor girl, but that doesn’t happen too often! I definitely prefer the velcro as well!

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89 Ali December 27, 2012 at 6:54 pm

My son is a heavy wetter too and we were having the same leaking issues at night. We use Soft Bums (which we love!) But no matter how many inserts we stuffed in, he would always leak at night. Our cloth diaper rep recommended that we use Thirsties fitted diapers with the duo wrap and we haven’t had a leak since we started using them almost 4 moths ago! The whole diaper is absorbable so that’s why it needs a cover. I was also worried about the moisture on the skin for so long but the diaper seems to wick it away plus I load up his bottom with coconut oil before putting the diaper on as a preventative measure . Hope that helps, good luck!

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90 Mrs. M December 27, 2012 at 7:00 pm

I had a horrid time with stink with rocking green. I have never had good luck with it so I switched to Ruby Moon and Tiny Bubbles. We also use Calgon because our water is really hard. We have only had leak issues when they didn’t fit right or if baby wet to many times before a change. My favorite brands are bumgenius freetimes and rumparooz. We used newborn diapers until she fit into the bums better. We use rumps at night because they hold more liquid.

Night we are about to be where you are so I am trying adding a hemp insert and will go from there.

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91 Ariana m December 27, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Huggies overnight diapers!!!! Also cloth diaper 90%ish but not worth it at night IMO! Good luck finding what works for you.., but finding these overnight diapers (when baby graduated to size 3)… Well, it was life-changing :)

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92 Cindy December 27, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I can’t believe how many comments this article has and only two or three of them mention wool covers! Wool at night is *the* only way to go! A good night nappy, a wool cover and/or a pair of longies is just perfect.

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93 Lauren December 27, 2012 at 8:39 pm

+1 for wool at night! I have a super pee’er as well and we started having a lot of nighttime leaks once he started sleeping longer stretches. I tried Bum Genius 4.0s stuffed with cotton and hemp prefolds (these had a lot of wicking issues for us), fitteds with covers, and an assortment of other solutions. I finally landed on a Swaddlebees Simplex One Size stuffed with a Thirsties hemp prefold and a pair of well-lanolized Sloomb/Sbish wool longies to catch the occasional leak. It took me awhile to try wool because it seemed so intimidating, but so glad I did!

For daytime, we use Bum Genius Elementals since we try to go for natural fibers (bonus: no stink issues like microfiber!). We change every two hours max (usually more often), so maybe try upping the frequency from what you were doing with disposables. Someone may have mentioned it, but also make sure you’re using a CD-safe diaper cream or coconut oil, since regular creams will make cloth diapers repel.

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94 Ali December 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm

I really want to cloth diaper, but I’m feeling so overwhelmed by the entire thing. Like you said, I know disposables would be so much easier, but I really want to make this effort for both the environment and our wallets. I read and read reviews and blog posts and it’s just something that feels so overwhelming to me that I end up pushing it to the back of my to-do list and figure there is time later. Well I’m 7 months pregnant, so I gotta get going on this! Where did you start!?

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95 KERF December 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm

I think it’s one of those things (like healthy eating!) where if you’re committed and motivated, it’s really not that bad. Even with the troubles we’re having, I’m still glad we’re doing it and prefer them to disposables when they work well.

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96 Claire December 28, 2012 at 8:34 am

Two great ways to ease into cloth diapering 1) see if there’s a diaper service nearby to try for a month or so, or 2) seeing if there’s a local store that sells cloth diaper “samples” packs (renting a number of different types of cloth diapers to try out for a length of time).

And for what it’s worth, I’m really glad we started with cloth from day 1 – to follow Kath’s analogy, if you’ve never eaten a Twinkie, you’ll think that fresh fruit is a treat! Since we’ve only ever cloth diapered (I think our girl has only worn a borrowed disposable once or twice in her life when we were out of town and didn’t have enough clean prefolds) I really don’t understand how people think it’s difficult or tricky, because it’s all I’ve ever done!

And I would recommend cotton prefolds + covers – they are inexpensive in comparison to other CDs, laundry is straightforward (just regular detergent, wash dipes twice, once on cold then once on hot), there’s nothing to stuff, only two sizes of covers will last you from the day you get home from the hospital to the day your babe potty trains, and we’ve never had leaks. Once our little girl started sleeping long stretches at night, we just added a second small prefold to her normal sized prefold at night and it’ll last her 10-12 hours easily.

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97 Carolyn December 28, 2012 at 5:23 pm

A lot of online retailers have trial programs, where you get the diapers for 2-3 weeks, keep what you like, and send back the rest! (Just check their policy – sometimes you get your initial deposit back, and sometimes you just get store credit back for any that you don’t keep). I always say that buying diapers for my baby is like buying jeans for me – some super popular brands just aren’t going to fit me properly, no matter what I do, so it’s better to try a variety and find what works for me before investing in a whole stash! :) And keep in mind that newborn babies are shaped quite differently from older babies and toddlers (who most one size diapers are designed for!) so if you don’t have much success from day 1 (or you give birth to a smallish baby, like I did!) it’s definitely worth trying again later instead of throwing in the towel. Unless you’re interested in purchasing newborn specific diapers, using cloth from day 1 is difficult for most people!

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98 Marie December 27, 2012 at 9:45 pm

I’ve also heard that TotBots Bamboozles, fitted nappies are really really good for heavy wetters over night.

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99 Casey December 27, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Yes! I feel like 90% of what you said was my experience for the first few months of cloth with my kids. I currently have a 21 mo and 6 mo old in cloth. I use the Bum Genius all-in-ones and the Best Bottoms 2 part sytem-shell and snapable insert. I also use a liner which is GOLD once your baby starts having more solid poops. The class I went to to learn about cloth diapering properly, told me to do a colors cycle with an extra rinse first, then a whites cycle with an extra rinse. Then I dry the inserts and hang dry the covers. I have 2 wetbags because one is always in the wash. To eliminate the smell: I do diapers every night and put baking soda in my diaper pail and wetbag each time I put it back in there. If the load is really stinky going into the wash, I’ll also add a little baking soda to the wash. I haven’t tried cloth wipes. But I make my own and that seems to be saving us a good bit!!! My 21 mo old uses an overnight Best Bottoms cloth diaper. My 6 mo old is in a disposable. He is nursing/eating too often to keep a cloth from leaking for 12 hours. Besides nighttime, most leaking issues can be solved by proper fitting and a changing every 2 hours. I’m still learning too! It’s nice to share in the journey.

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100 Jenny December 27, 2012 at 10:29 pm

I used pre-fold cloth diapers with my son and to prevent leaking I changed him regularly (every 2 hours if not more) and made sure none of the cloth was sticking out of the plastic pants. I never had an issue with leaking at night because even as a baby he would not pee in his sleep! He would be dry when I went to nurse him and soaking wet after.
As for the stink I always soaked my diapers in vinegar water and washed every 1-2 days. I also hung them on the line out side to dry if the weather was right.

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101 Krystle December 27, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Try some diapers with natural fibers, hemp and bamboo in particular. Microfiber inserts and microfleece hang onto odours, and in my 4 years of cloth diapering I have found that generally they SUCK. You should give fitted diapers with wool covers a try. Woollybottoms make wonderful upcycled wool covers and orange diaper company make beautiful organic bamboo fitteds. Way more absorbent, no leaking and they don’t hang into smells the same way microfiber does. Try drying your diapers in direct sunlight, and doing a soak with a touch of blue dawn dish detergent for stubborn smells. Also, you might want to change up your detergent routine. Good luck!

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102 persephone December 28, 2012 at 12:01 am

I know it’s sort of conventional wisdom that cloth diapers are “greener” than disposables but most studies have confirmed that only if you’re not over-laundering (multiples hot rinses) and if you’re line drying them (http://www.sierraclubgreenhome.com/go-green/children-and-babies/green-diaper-options/) and not using bleach or other nasty chemicals on them. So if you like cloth diapers better, by all means use them. However, there’s not necessarily shame in using disposables, particularly if you buy chlorine-free disposables. Have you looked into G-Diapers?

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103 Marie December 28, 2012 at 5:31 am

But this fails to take into account the landfill issue. It’s really just not okay to dump that much waste per child into landfills.

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104 persephone December 28, 2012 at 10:33 am

No, that Sierra Club article does take into account the landfill issue. In some communities, water is a much bigger problem than waste disposal. That’s not to say that creating landfill isn’t a problem but in some cases, using clean, potable water to wash diapers and the issues related to generating the electricity for the heat to dry your cloth diapers outweigh the cost of needing a landfill. It’s just not the black and white issue that it seems on the face of it.

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105 Lindsey December 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Hi Persephone- thanks for pointing this out. I was reading all these posts and wondering why it hadn’t been mentioned before. Water use is definitely an important issue in a lot of areas already, but it will become an even more important issue in the future as the world population increases and with climate change. Good to keep in mind that the issue isn’t black and white and that just buying cloth isn’t necessarily green.

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106 jen December 28, 2012 at 9:01 am

Hey, thanks for sharing this link! I’d heard a lot of debate about whether cloth was “really greener” in the long run, but it was all just word of mouth stuff. Reading what the Sierra Club had to say on the matter was enlightening and useful for me. I thought their tips for how you can lighten the environmental load of your diaper usage regardless of which route you choose were great.

In the end it got me thinking the best thing I personally can do for the environment concerning my girl’s diapering is to get her using that potty as soon as she’s possibly ready! She’s 18 months now and showing another round of interest, so here’s hoping!

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107 Claire December 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I wonder if they take into account that most families will use the same set of diapers for multiple children which would make them a lot greener (from an environmental prodcution cost and landfill standpoint), and many families buy/receive used diapers, like Kath.

Also, this doesn’t take into account the health aspects of cloth diapers. Disposables aren’t regulated by the FDA, and they contain MANY questionable chemicals, most troubling being sodium polycarbonate, the product used for absorption (http://www.livestrong.com/article/111348-chemicals-disposable-diapers/) – this is the same toxin that was removed from tampons because it was causing toxic shock syndrome! I can’t imagine having that, and other questionable chemicals, pressed against my baby’s most delicate skin literally 24-7, for years and years. For that reason alone I’m glad we’re using organic cotton prefolds.

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108 persephone December 28, 2012 at 10:55 pm

The article I linked does talk about the reuse factor for cloth diapers and how that reduces the environmental impact. And about the potential toxins – some disposables have them, some don’t. Some people use toxic chemicals on their cloth diapers, some don’t. . I did use disposables and whenever I could, I used brands that were more environmentally aware. But I knew I’d only be diapering that one time (we’re not having more children) and I didn’t want to deal with the laundry and the resources it consumes. I tried out cloth diapers early on and wasn’t happy with them so I switched. I also potty trained our child as soon as I could – at 2.5 years to get her out of the diapers as quickly as possible.

I’m not trying to persuade anyone of either path – just pointing out that each path has its costs and using cloth diapers doesn’t automatically absolve you of any consequences.

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109 Leslie Paquette December 28, 2012 at 8:50 am

Hi Kath, great post! Just want to throw in my opinion about cloth. My little girl is almost the same age as Maze (born 9/3/12) and we’ve been using cloth only since about 4 weeks. I bought several different kinds from the beginning to test out and was so glad I did. The Bumgenius AIO organic elemental with snaps wound up being both my husbands and my favorite. My husband thought he’d prefer Velcro but wound up hating it cause he could never remember to stick it to itself to wash and was always questioning whether the diaper was adjusted correctly. With the snaps we determined the best fit and always snapped it the same. For example, I’d tell anyone doing a diaper change on her to leave 4 snaps showing. Once we had a few blowouts I realized we’d have to make the diaper larger and that seemed to solve the problem. I’ve just recently had a problem with pee leaking out if the diaper is completely saturated at night so I guess it’s time to look into some inserts to tuck in there. If she eats frequently during the night I’ll try to change her if she’s awake because what goes in always comes out, lol! On the other hand, if she only nurses once at night not much comes out and I can usually wait til morning to change her. The fitteds with covers were annoying because it was like you were putting on two diapers, plus the fitted would gat saturated all the way around inside the cover and I felt bad that her skin was always damp under her diaper.

Pros of the BG AIO elementals:
easy to use
Almost never leak (when they did its usually my fault!)
Snaps are more durable than Velcro
No stuffing inserts or pulling out poopy inserts
The whole diaper can go in the dryer (most covers can’t)

Cons:
They take a long time to dry ( I put them in the dryer for 80 minutes on medium then hang dry overnight to make certain they are completely dry before using.)
Mostly solid colors (only 2 patterns to choose from)
More expensive than other cloth options ( still cheaper than disposables!!)

Part of the reason I like having all one type of cloth is my washing routine is the same for all of them. Once you determine a successful wash routine it’s much easier. I am using a fairly new HE front loader and try to wash 12-15 diapers per load. I do a rapid wash on cold with 1/2 scoop of rockin green (30 minutes) and then a heavy duty wash on hot with a prewash and extra rinse (2 hours) with a full scoop of rockin green. No problems with stink so far and the minor staining I see on some of them will most likely come out when I can lay them in the sun. I wash every other day. We have 24 diapers and I’ve never run out except when we lost power during the storm!! Hang in there, it will get easier! Love all of the pictures you post of Maze!! He’s so adorable :)

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110 Leslie Paquette December 28, 2012 at 8:54 am

One more thing! Bumgenius actually recommends you strip the diapers once per month by adding 1/4 cup of bleach to the hot wash load. I can’t stand the smell of bleach and hate using it but after 3 months of use I did notice a very very faint odor so decided to try it. It took the odor completely away and the diapers also looked a bit cleaner afterwards. I don’t see myself doing this too frequently but it’s a good alternative until I can use the suns natural bleaching powers!

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111 Paula Clark December 28, 2012 at 9:23 am

I think the reason cloth diapering is such a challenge now is because you can’t buy those good old “rubber” pant. Yes, they were made of plastic but they sure worked great. A few dozen large diapers that you could fold in different configurations for the size of your baby and put on a pair of those pants and you were good to go. I am sure that with all the testing done now on products someone could make rubber pants that did not have harmful chemical. But then what exactly is in a disposable that a baby can wear for 12 hours? That alone is insane to be. All I know is that we all used cloth diapers back in my mothering days and this was not an issue. Rinse, wash in hot water, rinse twice, hang on the clothes line to dry in the sun, fold in thirds and then adjust for babies size, putting most of the fold in front for boys and dividing the fold evenly for girls. And rubber pants were cheap, a three pack for a few dollars. Buy a new pack when they grew out of those.

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112 Molly December 28, 2012 at 9:30 am

I always changed my babies diapers when they woke up to nurse and I used disposables at night…Once they get used to it, a quick (very quick) change in a quiet darkened room then nursing, puts them right back to sleep. I just couldnt leave them knowing they were wet. I never had an issue with them going back to sleep after feeding, and the changing was always part of the routine.

In fact, when they were older, and potty training, I would even get them up when I went to bed to have a pee and then put them back to bed. Usually they didnt even recall the event! I would encourage making the night change a habit now, so that you can do this later. Also, the idea of laying in a diaper, cloth especially, for 12 hours (which will happen…12 hours sleep will eventually come) is just awful.

One last thought, I would think a minimum of 12 cloth diapers a day would eliminate most leaks. Two dozen, with washing a dozen a day seems like the idea solution to the day time leaks. Night time, I would suggest, requires changing with feeding or super duper disposable if you are opposed to changing.

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113 Cat December 28, 2012 at 10:42 am

For my 5 week old, we use a combination of Fuzzibunz pockets, Grovia NB AIOs, & Thirsties/Flip covers with either a disposable insert or prefold. We also have one gDiaper that I bought to try out. So far we love the Fuzzibunz, though, I’m not a fan of the snaps. I hear that I’ll be thankful for them when he’s older, though! I do not take the inserts out of the diaper after they’re dirty. They come out in the wash. The Grovia NB AIOs are fine, but again we got snaps so they’re kind of a pain. We only use the Thirsties covers right now because they seem to fit better at his age than the Flip covers.

We’ve had leaking issues with the Grovia AIOs because he’s starting to outgrow them. Other than that we rarely have leaking issues with the other diapers & haven’t had a blowout yet. My thought on why M is having leaking issues is due to the fit around his thighs. Maybe the elastic is worn out?

My favorite diapers are probably the Thirsties covers because they’re aplix so they’re a lot easier to put on. My husband loves the gDiaper so with a giftcard we purchased two more. Oh, we also have a Bumgenius AIO & pocket & a Kawaii Baby OS snazzy minky. We rarely use them right now because they seem bigger than the other diapers. If you’re wondering why we have so many brands, it’s because I went a little cloth crazy while pregnant :) Thankfully, they all seem to work on him right now & hopefully, the diapers that don’t fit him now will fit him when he’s bigger.

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114 Liz December 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm

We use exclusively used Flip diapers, but resolved night-time leaks with using a regular old used prefold. We used hand-me-down Bummies covers at night because the Velcro made for a snug fit fast in case we needed a night change, but now use flip covers all the time. Plus the overs can be re-used with a new insert. We were also told by our local cloth diaper store/service to not use Rockin Green. We use Charlie’s Soap for her clothes and her diapers. A little detergent goes a long way.

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115 tarynkay December 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm

We’ve done cloth diapers for about a year now. We did do disposables for the first month, just because people had given these to us so we felt like it was good to use them up. I’m kind of glad that we did, because I can honestly say that cloth does not feel like more work to me than disposables. It is an amount of work, but it’s really not a big deal. I am a stay at home mom like you are, I could see if I worked at a job for 8 hours a day, it would seem like a bigger hassle.

We have a diaper sprayer on the toilet. The low flow toilets do not work with the dunk and flush method, so I have found the sprayer very helpful. Good news: when babies start eating solids, their poop gets more solid and you actually can just shake it off into the toilet rather than spraying it off the diaper.

We have Fuzzi Bunz pockets with snaps and also some prefolds with Blueberry covers and snappis. I like both, but my husband hates messing with the prefolds. Probably if we did only prefolds, it would not be a big deal. I wash diapers usually every other day.

We have a top loading HE washer. The wash cycle goes like this:
Cold rinse
Hot soak with vinegar for 1 hour
Spin
Hot regular wash with Planet or some other suitable detergent
Line dry or no heat cycle in the dryer

They do not smell at all when they come out of the wash and we haven’t had leaking problems. We used to have leaks, but I think these were a fit issue. Also, I second the boy parts pointing down advice!

If you’re seeing stains, try line drying them. The sun is really great at getting stains out.

Here is a link to a chart of cloth diaper friendly detergents: http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com/detergentchoices.htm

I like the snaps a lot. This is really nice now that our son is old enough to take his diaper off. He can’t do that with snaps, he can with disposable tabs or velcro tabs. He is an extremely heavy wetter. I change his diaper at least every 2 hours. We double stuff the Fuzzi Bunz and he soaks through both soakers. I find that the prefolds get completely soaked through more quickly than the Fuzzi Bunz and they do not wick the moisture away from his skin, so he notices more. This might be good when he gets closer to potty training.

We do use Pampers Overnights for nighttime. He sleeps 12 hours at night straight through (and has since 5 months, it’s just how he is- we did not do CIO or anything) and this allows him to get the sleep he needs. Otherwise he will wake up soaked through in the middle of the night. It’s not my favorite solution, but I never found a cloth solution that would work overnight. We also do disposables during the day (Target brand) if we’re traveling out of town and we keep a pack of Target disposables in the trunk of the car and a couple in the diaper bag in case of emergencies.

He has had one diaper rash when he was about ten months. I stripped the diapers at that time (I boiled them in a huge pot, then washed them.) He hasn’t had any rashes since.

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116 Ashley December 28, 2012 at 12:47 pm

A little advice/questions from a fellow first time mom :) my baby is 4.5mos old and started wetting himself through his diaper at night when he was 3 mos old…. We switched to using disposable overnight diapers, and we have never had a problem since– they are a miracle– he stays dry and comfortable and started sleeping 10 hours at a time once he was in them… I think because his bum is finally dry all night so it doesn’t wake him up! We use the Huggies overnights ts size 3. As for your cloth diapering– do you worry that what make up for in reduced waste is counteracted by the increased water usage to strip/clean and maintain the diapers? We thought about cloth but did some research and decided the water use was a big negative. Wondering what you have found on the subject ?? ps- isn’t 4 months the best age?? It’s like you finally get something from them for all the work you put into them!

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117 Sarah December 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Nights are hard when they’re still nursing. I can see why you don’t want to wake him up, but I can also see why it’s hard to find a diaper that works that long. We use cloth at night on our nearly 20 month old who sleeps 12 hours (but doesn’t wake up to eat) and we do have a few leaks, but nothing major (just a little dampness on her pjs where the edges of the diapers are, not soaking). We use disposables when traveling and she’s had a few really wet mornings in those – they are rarer but it seems like when she leaks, she really leaks in those. So one thing maybe to keep in mind is that no diapering system is perfect, and something is likely to leak sometime. Nighttime is hard with a heavy wetter, too. My friend who also uses cloth has gone back and forth with different types of disposables and different types of cloth for her son at night. Lots of people who use cloth have really big nighttime diaper combinations – remember that the baby is not trying to do much while they are asleep, so a big diaper is not a problem in terms of their comfort. (Also, I recent read that cloth diapers are good for hip positioning for babies, so while a big bulky diaper looks weird to us, it’s actually good for them.)

Anyway, our nighttime diapers are a couple different brands of pockets with multiple inserts. We find that a mix of bamboo and microfiber inserts (microfiber closer to the baby) work best, and if the diaper has a good fleece liner, then there’s not too much moisture on her skin, either.

As others have mentioned, changing more frequently during the day may help. I am having a really hard time seeing how 15 diapers lasts you anywhere near 3 days at this age.

We used prefolds and covers until she was about 8-10 months and gradually shifted to pockets. I know you want to work with what you’ve got, but in case it’s useful for someone reading this, I thought I’d mention it. Lots of people find that prefolds are better for getting a good fit on smaller babies.

As far as laundry goes, it’s a bit of a tricky combination of water hardness, detergent, and your washing machine. Your detergent might not be the right one for your water locally (and in addition to a different washing machine, your parents probably have different water). It is so frustrating. I love cloth diapers and really dislike disposables, but we have hard water, and finding the right detergent was really frustrating for me.

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118 LL December 28, 2012 at 1:15 pm

I would suggest disposables for night time, I would go up a size for night time and/or suggest Huggies Overnights, they are fantastic. Good Luck!

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119 Kristen @ The Concrete Runner December 28, 2012 at 1:33 pm

We use Bum Genius AIOs (elementals and free times). I have to strip them 1x a month – I do a hot wash with 1 teaspoon blue dawn and 1/2 cup bleach (for a front loader) then 2 more washes with nothing. This works best with clean diapers, so wash them all first for a total of 4 washes. I never air dry unless we have really bad stains. I also use 2 wet bags for the exact reason you stated. We wash every 2 days because I think any longer and the ammonia from the pee starts to break down the diapers. We also have a very heavy wetter and had to switch to overnight disposables. I couldn’t stand them since we cloth diaper 99% of the time and don’t have a diaper genie. I finally went to Cotton Babies and asked what we could use. We now use a hemp doubler/liner for overnights and have yet to have a leak! I think they are called hemp babies but I’m not positive. I don’t think I could ever switch back to disposables. Sure they’re easy, but it just makes me feel better to cloth! Also, for our cloth wipes, we use a wipe warmer so they stay wet! It’s awesome! Well worth the money!

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120 LC December 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I thought I was going to love the bumgenius freetime diapers (all in ones that you don’t have to stuff!) that we registered for, but then my work got me a bunch of bummis prefolds with thirsties covers from a work shower. I LOVE the prefolds! You can get an adjustable fit with a snappi so we have had as many leaks with the prefolds as with disposables. The covers come with snaps or velcro, but I am a snap person. For laundry we just dump them all in with a tablespoon of Allen’s detergent and we have had no problems with needing to strip them or smells. From what I read the prefolds are way less likely to get the ammonia build up. We do a cold wash, hot rinse, cold wash and dry. When they are dry you just stack them up or throw them in your drawer so there is no extra step of stuffing the diapers. We have had no problems with diaper rash and the biggest bonus is these are the cheapest option! We started cloth diapering at 2 weeks and our baby is almost 3 months. I am a total cloth diaper convert!

BTW I love reading your blog since whatever you blog about is typically what we will be going through in just a few weeks! :)

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121 HEAB December 28, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Hey Kath, haven’t read through other comments, and so both of these have probably already been suggested:
1. Add one cup vinegar to wash for smells.
2. If you decide to do disposables overnight, Huggies Overnights work great. We use Pampers during the day, but love Huggies Overnight for nighttime. Everyone sleeps 12+ hours at night, and we never have leaks with the Huggies.

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122 Danielle December 28, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Please take my comment as i meant it, a nice piece of advice from one mom to another. You complain A LOT about your sleep both here and on your food blog. I’m not saying for sure that you will get longer stretches by changing him over night but I think it can only help. I have a little one just a few weeks younger than mazen and I know how precious sleep is with an infant. She does sleep through the night (she just started sleeping 12 hours) I have let her go ONCE the whole night without a change but her diaper was soaked the next day and she woke up screaming. I dream feed her before I go to bed at 11 and always change her then. I know that she is more comfortable because when she wakes in the morning she happily babbles to herself. I would hate to sleep in a cold wet paper and can’t imagine not changing her when she would wake. I know it might take him slightly longer to get him back to sleep but he may sleep longer stretches so it would even out.

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123 Claire December 28, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Have you gotten a sprayer for your toilet? That would help a lot to remove more solid waste (I find it works better than dumping/swishing) which will really help with the smell after washing, I think. Plus when you start solid foods the poops get firmer and easier to dispose of in the toilet rather than what you have to do with breastmilk poops.

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124 Marcia December 28, 2012 at 11:25 pm

I have no experience with cloth, but I did do some research. You probably need to buy a few more. I think it was the bum genius website that recommended having 24 and doing laundry every two days. My neighbors daughter swears by that brand.

For other good info, check out this woman’s site…she did a lot of cd research.

http://www.squawkfox.com/2012/07/09/cloth-diapers/

She did a whole series.

As far as leaking at night, can’t help you there. You may want to do a diaper change. I always did with our first, but haven’t been with our second. The pediatrician said, only change poopy, not wet if you want them to sleep.

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125 Annalisa December 29, 2012 at 9:17 am

After stripping diapers and there is still leaks – change your soap. I switched to tide free and clear liquid (recommended) and no more leaks. I tried everything from blue dawn, bleach, sunning, even new cloth diapers and I kept having the same issues. New soap made all the difference. What works for you won’t work for someone else – I really think the laundry routine is so unique.

We do cloth wipes but I run 3 under hot water right before use – not cold and I think more effective.

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126 Mandie December 29, 2012 at 10:02 am

For nights I haven’t found anything like lolidoo they are made in the us and made from all recycle able materials. Pretty pricey but worth every penny , lots of moms I know swear by them. Velcro is a lot easier but wears out so much faster and I’ve heard older babies can take them off easier. I was also under the impression that using lavender and tea tree oil with boys was a big huge no no! Especially around their private parts, may want to look into this.

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127 Kristi December 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I love reading your blogs! Your son is precious; what fun watching him grow and change!
We used cloth exclusively except for travel. Once we got into a good routine it was pretty easy. We did have to do more frequent changes than with disposable but never had trouble with leaking. We used BumGenius AIO. We had 18 (15 for daytime and 3 ready for night) and washed every 2 days. For nighttime I expanded to the next size setting and double stuffed it. The only leaks we had were when our son was due to go to the next size setting. We did do changes at night when he woke to nurse but had a spray bottle with wiper solution readily available, never turned on the lights, and it was pretty quick. We used Charlies laundry soap (liquid), always did a second rinse cycle, and only had to strip the diapers a couple of times. We ordered the big jugs and always got it within 2 days of placing the order and never paid shipping. It doesn’t leave residue in the wash so we used it for all laundering. For ease and convenience we made a supply of wipes out of terry on one side and flannel on the other. It was a bit of work but the supply lasted all the way through potty training and beyond (we passed them down). This was very economical. After a change we folded the wipe and diaper up together (just like you would with a disposable) then threw it that way in the diaper pail. We didn’t rinse them out but did dump solid poop once food started. The only trouble we had with staining was blueberry poops. We put a washable pail bag in the pail and washed it every time we washed the diapers. We didn’t unstuff the diaper until they were put in the washer which made changes a bit neater. We hung the covers which saved the life of the velcro a bit and dried the inserts.
I used cotton babies website for a lot of helpful information on diapering and laundering.

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128 Stacy December 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Kath: With all of the rinsing, washing, re-rinsing, stripping 5 times in hot water, etc., are you sure that cloth diapering actually is more environmentally friendly than disposables? Between the electricity to run the washer/dryer and the water usage, I’m not so sure.

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129 KERF December 29, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Some of the other comments discuss this. And I don’t just cloth diaper for the environment alone.

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130 Rosie December 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I’m thinking that your biggest problem with the leaking is you aren’t changing him enough. We use cloth and go through about 12-15 diapers a day. if you only have 15 and are washing every 2 days that’s not enough diapers for daily use. I’m going to have to assume you are either leaving him in wet soaking diapers for hours on end or you are disposables 50% of the time. I’m hoping for the disposable answer because the other one is just unfathomable and you don’t seem like the type of person who would do that.

So my biggest advice would be to get some more diapers. I know you don’t want to invest money into it but if you think about it in the long term if you were doing disposables 100% you’d be shelling out money constantly so the cloth diapers are really an investment that will pay off over the long term. Not only that but the amount of laundry you must be doing with all the outfit changes is a bit excessive as well. If you take that into account and the fact that you had to wash 5x in HOT water you really aren’t helping the environment at all. So I would suggest more diapers and some inserts maybe wool or bamboo.

Also you can use cloth diaper inserts in disposables for overnight use. Also if you have a heavy wetter you may just need to change him halfway through the night no matter how hard it may make things. I have a baby a day older than Mazen and he sleeps through the night and I don’t wake him up to change him but he’s not such a heavy wetter that he wakes up soaked.

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131 KERF December 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm

I just counted our actual diapers (15 was a guess) and we are using 20. I do change him every 2-3 hours (and we haven’t been using the cloth at night).

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132 Lindsey December 29, 2012 at 6:24 pm

We have cloth diapered since birth. I like it but I have nothing to compare it to.

For overnights we used Thirsties Hemp Prefolds with a fleece (homemade) liner, then we added a FuzziBunz insert to it before moving on because the diapers got too small. Now we use a gmd profold with a Thirsites Hemp liner/doubler and fleece liner. We use Thirsties covers and wraps. My LO is a heavy wetter and eats every 2-3 hours around the clock.

Sunning is the best thing for cloth diapers but you will probably need a bigger stash due to drying time.

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133 Kym December 29, 2012 at 11:29 pm

My little man is 7 weeks old today and we’ve been using prefolds with covers since he was 1 week old (when we ran out of the disposables the hospital had provided). We have size newborn prefolds and size small to move into next, after that I have 14 BumGenius 4.0 diapers. In my week of using disposables, every single poop exploded out of the diaper, no matter how small. It would go up the back, out the leg, everywhere, every time. Since changing to cloth, he has only had poop touch his clothes 1 single time, and that was when he had a major, major poopsplosion – it got on his pants about the size of a quarter. Every other time it’s stayed in the diaper! I much, much prefer the cloth. I look forward to being able to use my BumGenius! He’s still too small for them, hence the prefolds. I also have more quantity of prefolds since they were so much cheaper, so it makes for less laundry at this stage where he’s being changed constantly anyway. 15 diapers in 3 days seems like an unattainable goal. He uses about 15-18 every single day right now (though with prefolds they feel the wetness, and he really, really does not like feeling wet so we change right away). I wash them (and also prepped my BumGeniuses) with Charlie’s Soap – cold rinse, full hot cycle with 2 cold rinses, into the dryer, done. I also use Charlie’s Soap on all of his clothes, and when I run out of regular detergent, plan to use that on our own clothes as well. I already did use it on our clothes, sheets, towels while I was still pregnant and evaluating if I liked it or not. Highly recommend, I get it from Amazon with Prime.

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134 Jourdan December 30, 2012 at 9:00 am

Kath, i have flips and i love them! But i would hate for you to buy a whole new stash! I haven’t even thought about needing to strip mine eventually, that part stinks about having used diaps! At night i am able to use bum genius 4.0with 2 inserts and it works for over 12 hours. Are your inserts soaked when he leaks in the middle of the night? If not then maybe he is just a quick wetter, you know what i mean? I havea friend whose baby boy does that, at least it gives you something else to research.i also wanted to let you know i switched from rocking green to tide powder and loveit !i use about a tablespoon or Two.

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135 Jessica December 30, 2012 at 11:52 pm

We use gDiapers and LOVE them! We haven’t had too many problems with leaking. They have disposable/flushable inserts that we use at night and when our daughter does happen to sleep through the whole night, she doesn’t leak through those. We do have a variety of inserts for them- basic prefolds, the gDiaper brand inserts, some Bumkins, etc.. I haven’t really found one to be better than the others.

For the smell, we were having a similar issue until we set up a wet pail (water, white vinegar and baking soda) to put them in until washing. That seems to have solved both smell and staining.

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136 Hilary December 31, 2012 at 9:11 am

I didn’t read the other comments, but we use covers with prefolds and they are so easy I love them! Much more than the bum genius or other pocket diapers. The legs don’t leak (and I have chunky monkey babies) and I don’t even use a snappi to fasten them – just fold in thirds and lay in the cover then snap it up! And no annoying stuffing. I just lay them all flat and grab one off the top when I need it.

I love snaps! After one baby of use, the velcro covers I have are stiff and don’t hold very well at all. The velcro constantly comes undone even under their clothes. And if the baby starts crawling around without pants on – it sticks to carpet and comes off. But snaps keep going strong time after time. Maybe you could get a dozen prefolds and a couple of covers and see if you like those better. I order from Green Mountain Diapers.

Overnight is hard – I too have heavy wetters and it has always been a struggle with both my son and daughter to get them not to leak at night. Still haven’t figured it out! Disposables work better at times, but sometimes they leak too. It’s all trial and error. Glad to hear you are sticking with it.

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137 Stephanie C January 1, 2013 at 2:16 pm

As a childless individual interested in cloth diapering… I’ve always wondered if its doable in an apartment. We have shared coin laundry and can’t choose cycles (other than warm or cold) so wouldn’t be able to double rinse unless I paid over $3! In my case, it seems more expensive than disposables? Anyone have any experience with this?

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138 KERF January 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm

That’s a good question. I know there are people who have done cloth diapers with bucket systems in their bathtubs, but honestly it’s more than I would be willing to do. The cost of your washer would really add up with the rinsing. You could consider a cloth diaper service. Most big cities have them. Probably about the same cost as disposables (ours was)

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139 Robyn January 1, 2013 at 8:03 pm

We use Charlie Banana brand diapers, and love them! We’ve had some leak issues along the way too. We had to start changing more often, and ended up just sticking with disposable at night :-) havent had any stink issues, but living in Florida means there is plenty of sunshine and heat to dry diapers in! After almost a year, i can definitely say i love cloth diapering, and am so glad we decided to try it!!

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140 Robin January 1, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Sounds like you are off to a good start:) We started cloth diapering at 6 months and loved it after a few weeks in too. I have a super heavy night wetter, and tried TRIPPLE stuffing with hemp inserts for a few weeks. We eventually gave in and used seventh generation “overnight” disposable at night. They are the only diapers we could find (cloth or disposable) that could contain her pee for 10+ hours at night… LOL. Every baby is different, and you will get 1,000,000 different opinions on cloth diapers… all which are different. Just find what works for you:)

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141 lauri January 2, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I didn’t read through all of the comments, but I REALLY think you would like covers! I NEVER have leak issues w/ covers (We do with the pockets sometimes) and they last ALL night (Miss B sleeps 8-9hrs now). Plus you can reuse the cover over and over, just switch out the insert (unless LO poops or the cover gets dirty). I would use covers exclusively it if weren’t for daycare. Also, pockets have more stink issues than covers and covers are super fast to dry (inserts go in dryer, cover hangs and dries in a couple hours)! I love my FLIPS, but I wouldn’t buy them again now that I know about the co-op I told you about!! I just ordered several Happy Flute and Weegro covers for less than 5 bucks each! There are SO many cheaper brands out there (Bum Genius is pretty expensive and thirsties are sized 1 and 2’s, so you have to buy new ones later on. I liked the thirsties when we tried them on our CD trial, but they were going to be too expensive to use in the longrun). Yes many of these are made in China, but there are some reputable companies (such as glow bug and sunbaby) that follow good labor practices as well if you are worried about that. You can also order WAHM (Work at home mom) diapers off of co-ops for $12-13 (Kawaii co-op is running BDeesBums right now and they are super cute!!) I usually don’t pay more than $4-5 each anymore for diapers…

I bought those same hemp inserts–> WAY too expensive!!! There is a sell going on right now for charcoal bamboo and bamboo blend inserts for $1.25-1.45 each in the bubba and the bean co-op (Let me know if you want more info on Charcoal bamboo, they are supposed to be SUPER absorbant and they are supposed to be naturally antimicrobial/antifungal!). If you are considering covers, they are also selling an insert that has PUL on the back for $1.45 each (These inserts are by babyland)

We use the same cloth wipes, although I use an old pampers disposable wipes container and make a solution (2 cups water, 2-3 drops lav essential oil, 1Tb lav baby soap, 1Tb baby oil for ~24 wipes).

I had stink issues with Rockin Green, No issues since switching to TIDE. I use 2Tb of regular TideHE powder. But you might have to play around with this depending on what type of water you have (hard vs soft). We have soft. I also spray each diaper w/ Bac-out before tossing them into our pail. Bac-out helps prevent staining and smell issues (cheapest I’ve seen is on Soap.com or Vine.com for 1st time buyers you get 30% off w/ code, I ordered 2 gallons for my normal wash routine w/ 2tsp blue dawn dish detergent instead of (reg detergent) followed by 2-3 20min rinses to get it all out. I haven’t had to do this since switching to TIDE.

If the diapers you have aren’t working for you, or if you have a few that you simply don’t care for, get on a B/S/T facebook site and sell them so you can buy new ones! There is a B/S/T group just for bumgenius (just search for buy/sell/trade bumgenius). I sold 2 bumgenius freetimes for $25.00. There are also TONS of other B/S/T groups, just let me know if you want to join any of them.

In the end, cloth diapering has it’s ups and downs, but it should be enjoyable for the most part. I think you will LOVE it once you get a routine down and fix your leaking and smell problems :)

Okay, done rambling now :)

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142 KERF January 2, 2013 at 5:19 pm

You are always a CD encyclopedia : )

I just bought a Bumgenius AIO and like it a lot! Also bought Tide.

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143 lauri January 2, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Some might call it a CD obsession… good luck w/ the bum genius ai1!

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144 Blaire January 4, 2013 at 10:43 am

I’m cloth diapering a 5 month old and a 2 year old and have had my share of issues but truly love them and worth figuring out the quirks. I use the 3.0 and 4.0 generation pocket bum genius. Mine kept leaking and I would strip and still leak. It was always leaking out from the thighs. What I kept getting stuck on was adhearing to the directions regarding what size I was ‘suppose’ to use for their weight. As soon as I threw that notion out and made them a size bigger than their weight and stuffed more inserts in, we were golden. My 5 month old is on the second ‘snap’ and uses a large insert during the day and a large plus newborn insert at night. This keeps him so much dryer than with a disposable. Same with my two year old– using two large inserts keeps her dryer than with a disposable diaper at night.

Another tip I learned just recently– do not push the inserts all the way to the ‘front’. Leave about an inch from the top. My boy used to leak out the top and soak his onesies and by leaving that small space, no more leaks!

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145 C Tickle January 6, 2013 at 9:17 pm

I just came across your blog. We love cloth diapers in our house and I found blueberry diapers to fit my LO the best. Great post!

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146 Rachelle January 6, 2013 at 9:41 pm

For overnight, I actually put on a disposable & then put a very light layer in a cloth & put it on top :-) Works like a charm.

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147 Kattrina January 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm

You have a gazillion comments and I’m no expert in CD but thought I’d just share some of what I’ve learned in the past 4 months I’ve clothed diapered.

We started with cloth right away (well, maybe on day 3 or 4). I had some Little Joeys (that were amazing) and prefolds. The prefolds really were the best but my husband wasn’t a fan of all the work. Once he was too big for those, we switched to Bum Genius (I have mostly snaps, four AIOs, and one velcro), Fuzzi Bunz, and a bunch that my aunt made (there are actually patterns for cloth diapers and we stuff them with the prefolds). We had lots of leaking problems with the Fuzzi Bunz but I started double stuffing and it seems to have stopped. We’ve never had a leaking problem with the Bum Genius though. I exclusively use the AIOs for nightime because I feel like they are thicker, but a few times he’s slept in other types and we haven’t had an issue. The ones my aunt made leak every once in a while but it was her first time making them so they aren’t perfect.

I wash the diapers every night and then hang them to dry. They all dry pretty fast – by the next night they are dry and I can stuff them all. Now that I’m back at work and don’t get home until 6:30pm, it can be tiring doing laundry and stuffing diapers but most of the time I don’t mind. We haven’t had any stink problems yet and I haven’t stripped my diapers. When I was having a leaking problem with my Fuzzi Bunz my friend said to use less detergent so I started doing that and that seems to have helped too. I am using the Rockin Green but at times I just use our regular detergent and it seems to be fine (Honest Company).

To be honest, we haven’t had any problems with cloth and I don’t mind them at all. The smell off the disposables (clean) makes me want to gag, so I am much happier with the cloth. The only draw-back is the bulkiness. I feel like his clothes don’t fit as well with the cloth because they are so big. He’s not really that big but his 3-6 month clothes are sometimes too tight (especially pants like jeans). It’s very annoying. I wish the diapers were more streamlined or that they made pants a bit bigger in the tush area. That’s about it though.

Oh, and we have two wet bags. It makes life WAY easier. We bought a trash can and line the bags inside of that. It is way easier because the opening is bigger so when I’m trying to get the liners out and stuff it’s easier to make sure everything gets in the bag. When it was on the door knob I would miss sometimes.

We do cloth wipes too and I just use baby wash rags. I also just take them straight out of the washer and fold them and stick them in a wipes warmer. The wipes warmer was a great investment because it keeps them wet and if they are too dry coming out of the washer I just spray them in there and they stay wet. I don’t use any wipe mixes – just water. I have some diaper spray from California baby that I use sometimes but I’ve found that plain water works well enough.

Good luck! I’m sure you’ll figure it out soon and it will all work out. Feel free to email me – even if it’s just to vent! Oh, I also bought this book called Changing Diapers by Kelly Wels that was pretty helpful when I was starting. I’m sure you’ll figure it out!

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148 Amelia January 13, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Have you tried SoftBums or GroVia covers? They look similar to ones you have but I really liked those. I think the key to preventing leaks with babies Mazen’s age is just to change often, like every 1.5 hours or so. By 9-12 months he’ll pee less often, and poop will be more solid, so leaking is a lot less frequent. I’ve also heard you have to wrap the covers tighter than you’d think. I never came up with a completely leak-free solution but I found it just got better over time.

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149 Jess January 16, 2013 at 12:59 am

Question for any readers who may see this: Recommendations on a trimmer cloth diaper? I’m just trying out cloth diapers and my only gripe so far is how bulky they are. I doubt I’ll find a CD that fits as trim as a disposable and that’s fine, but I would love to find something that doesn’t add so much bulk! We’re currently using bumGenius 4.0 diapers (hand-me-downs from some close friends). Any suggestions? Thanks!

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150 KERF January 16, 2013 at 3:27 am

I know I’ve seen a list online that ranks them by trim, but I can’t recallt where

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151 Janine January 18, 2013 at 10:00 pm

I’m sure you’ve been given tons of suggestions, but I use Sandy’s Motherease diapers – http://www.mother-ease.com/default.aspx/121- and they are amazing, I know at least 5 other people who use them and swear by them too… My son is 15 months old and we’ve been using them since week two. We had maybe 7 poop blow-outs between months 5-6 and a couple of wet leaks- but usually only if the cover isn’t on properly. Otherwise they are great!

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152 Allison January 28, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Well, I’m about a month late to the party, but I wanted to recommend trying Thirsties. My favorite feature about them was the insert can put put in/pulled out from either the front or the back. That was very handy when my son started trying food and getting more interesting diapers.

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153 sarah venn May 20, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Where did you get your spray bottle from? I know that’s a weird question, but now that i’m looking for one like that for cloth diapering, I can’t find one anywhere except Amazon! Also, what kind of lavender baby wash do you use? Just wanted to say thanks for all of your reviews on baby stuff! I am a first time mom and I have pretty much purchased EVERYTHING you have blogged about and have taken all of your advice and I am happy with everything. You have made everything so easy for me! :) Also, just wanted to add that I am breastfeeding and waking up early in the morning and breastfeeding in the nursery in my rocking chair was my least favorite time of day. I was tired and sitting upright in the nursery by myself when I was SOOO tired was difficult and uncomfortable. I saw your post about where you breastfed lying down so I tried it. Now it’s my favorite part of the day to bring my baby in my room in the morning and feed her lying down. Lots of opportunities for cuddling too! It’s so fun for our family to all wake up together. Thanks again!

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154 KERF May 20, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I got it at either Target or Bed, Bath and Beyond a few years ago. The body wash is California Baby!

So glad BERF has been a good resource! I rely so much on mom blogs myself as we enter each new stage : ) Side lying nursing is the best!

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